Wuxiaworld > Stealing The Heavens > 205 The Terms of Exchange

205 The Terms of Exchange

The flame in the fire pit was burning vigorously. The soup in the large clay pot was steaming and boiling, and the black dog meat pieces were rolling about restlessly in the bubbling water. Li Xin stuck out his tongue and moistened his lips as he carefully controlled the fire. Every now and then, he would take a deep breath and show a look of drooling for the delicacy.

Inside the house, the sound of boiling water filled the air, while large sheets of snowflakes kept falling from the sky outside. They landed on the roof and ground while making rustling noises. From afar came the crowing of cocks and the barking of dogs, and the voice of villagers greeting. All the surrounding noises had set off a clear contrast to the quietness inside the house, making Zhang Yi's voice sound calmer and aged. It was as if an old ghost who had died for over few thousand years was doing some ghost talks here.

Wu Qi knew the background of Yan Dan, Ying Zheng, and the people surrounding them. However, no matter it was Su Qin or Zhang Yi, none of them knew that Wu Qi had the knowledge about their background and origin. Therefore, when they were telling the story, they had omitted many important details. Nevertheless, according to information that Wu Qi learned before, he could easily complete the missing puzzles and roughly restore the original story.

According to Zhang Yi, Ying Zheng once had a Queen who he loved the most, and the only girl that he loved in his entire life. This girl had occupied a very important place in his heart. So, after the Queen died, or to be exact, went missing, Ying Zheng had been missing her a lot. He always carried her remains with him all the time, and would take them out occasionally to cherish the memory of his beloved wife. The contents of the box had become something that could comfort Ying Zheng's spirit.

There were two rings that Ying Zheng wore all the time on his hand. One was the Black Dragon Spirit Ring, as it stored all his personal belongings. Another one was a White Dragon Spirit Ring. It was a very powerful Spirit Item, possessing the power that could allow him to fight with experts of Nascent Soul or even Nascent Divinity realm. During the battle of Meng Mountains, Wu Qi had randomly taken away one of the rings, and it happened to be the Black Dragon Spirit Ring which stored all of Ying Zheng's personal belongings.

As Ying Zheng owned the entire Great Qin Dynasty, although the treasures inside the ring were precious and rare, he did not attach too much of importance to them. However, it was a different case for the remains of the Queen. It was the thing that Ying Zheng cherished the most, and was willing to pay a very high price just to claim them back.

Meanwhile, the version of the story that was restored by Wu Qi was much more detailed. Zhang Yi totally had no idea about Wu Qi's background, and did not know that Wu Qi actually came from the same place as they did. As a result, although he had been very careful in his words, with Su Qin sighing beside and interrupting him, he would accidentally leak some insignificant information every now and then. Yet, this insignificant information was more than enough for Wu Qi to restore the original story.

It was when Ying Zheng was still in his youth, when he was a prince hostage. During that time, Ying Zheng was in deep waters, and always bullied by people around him. It was at that moment he met his future queen. Back in those days, Ying Zheng was just an ordinary youth, and the feeling of a youth was always the most honest one. When he was penniless and frustrated, the loving care from a teenage girl was enough to let Ying Zheng remember it for the rest of his life. Many years later, Ying Zheng became an emperor of the generation with great talent and bold vision. For a peerless emperor such as him, there were not many people who could leave traces in his heart. But once that happened, it would be a memory that branded deeply in his heart.

If not for Su Qin sighing emotionally at Ying Zheng's poor and struggling juvenile years, Wu Qi would never get to know that Ying Zheng had known this queen mentioned by Zhang Yi since a very young age. According to the historical materials Wu Qi learned in the past, Ying Zheng was a prince hostage at that point in time, and it was also the most miserable and troubled period in his life.

Since then, the girl had always staying beside Ying Zheng. She accompanied him back to Qin State, inherited the throne and seized over the ruling power.

Initially, Zhang Yi had skimmed over this part of the history with just a few words. But Su Qin had shot his mouth off, babbling about the success and failure that Ying Zheng had experienced during that period of time with Zhang Yi. Both men were talking in a rather subtle manner, and if Wu Qi were a man who grew up natively in this world, perhaps he would have been fooled by them. But Wu Qi was from Earth! And this part of the history could be easily found in Le Xiaobai's memory! Thus, he knew every detail about what the two men were talking about!

During the process of taking over the state affairs and seizing the throne, this queen of Ying Zheng had played a very important role. It was she who convinced most of the important ministers of Qin State to support Ying Zheng. It was she who struck personally, getting rid of those people who tried to harm Ying Zheng, and even saved Ying Zheng's life in a few attempts of assassination. Without that girl, Ying Zheng would have long become a pile of meat paste, and there would not be the Great Emperor of Qin Dynasty.

For Ying Zheng, this girl was not only his first love during his youth, but also his fosterer, bodyguard, adviser, an all-round talent that followed him through the journey. It was because of her protection and help that Ying Zheng was able to stumble through the hardship and eventually sit on the throne of Qin State.

After that, this girl came out with many strategies and plots, and finally killed Lao Ai smoothly, who tried to plot a rebellion. She also hounded Lu Buwei to death, who had been solely holding the power of Qin State.

As even Su Qin did not know about this part of the history, that was why he kept interrupting excitedly, digging deeper and wishing to know the details about the story, forcing Zhang Yi with no choice but used some obscure words to point out the key elements. As for the true story behind this part of the history that Su Qin learned from Zhang Yi, Wu Qi had long known about them, and he knew even more than Su Qin. After all, Su Qin was born earlier than Ying Zheng, and the historical materials he got to read were lesser than Wu Qi.

With the help of the queen, Ying Zheng had smoothly controlled the Great Qin. Then, assisted by her, he began the warring campaign, conquering the neighboring states and finally, he managed to bring all the states under his domination, attaining the great achievement that no one before him had completed. The mighty Ying Zheng then conferred the girl as the Queen of Great Qin Dynasty, giving her the power and status exactly the same with himself.

But for such an extraordinary girl, her ambition was never fixed on power and status. After assisting Ying Zheng in unifying the country, the girl began to devote herself wholly in secluded cultivation, seeking the path that led to the Dao of Immortality. Finally, on a random night after a heavy rainstorm, the girl left behind a personal letter and disappeared without a trace.

Since that moment, Ying Zheng's temperament had changed tremendously. He began drawing himself closer to practitioners and alchemists, paying an undivided attention in seeking the Dao of Immortality. He sent Xu Fu out to the great eastern ocean, ordering him to look for the elixir of life. However, what he wanted was not his own immortality, but to find his queen back. He even roamed the world, searching for Immortals and paying visits to Daoists, covering mountains, rivers, legendary deities everywhere, just for the sole purpose of finding his queen. Knowing that there was little hope in obtaining an eternal life, and because of the thought he had in longing for the queen, when Ying Zheng was in his old age, he became even ruthless and cruel. In a very short period of time, he had almost depleted the foundation of the entire Great Qin Dynasty.

Su Qin sighed, looking at the ceiling. He was sighing for Ying Zheng's miserable old age.

Wu Qi was staring at Zhang Yi with his eyes and mouth both fixed. He could not believe that the bold and talented Ying Zheng was actually a man full of tenderness. What kind of a girl could make Ying Zheng become so unreasoningly passionate, engraving the memories so deeply in his bones and imprinting on his heart, and never changing for over two thousand years? After so long, Ying Zheng still carried her remains with him all the time, taking them out and cherishing them day and night. And because Wu Qi had stolen the remains, Ying Zheng even sent one of his mighty general and the prime minister of Great Qin across tens of thousands of miles, just to claim back the box.

Ten years, dead and living dim and draw apart.

I don't try to remember,

But forgetting is hard.

Lonely grave a thousand miles off,

Cold thoughts, where can I talk them out?

Even if we met, you wouldn't know me,

Dust on my face,

Hair like frost.

In a dream last night, suddenly I was home.

By the window of the little room,

You were combing your hair and making up.

You turned and looked, not speaking,

Only lines of tears coursing down.

Year after year, will it break my heart?

The moonlit grave,

The stubby pines. [1]

All of a sudden, Wu Qi recited a poem composed by Su Shi, which was about the mourning for a dead wife. Filled with melancholy, he looked through the window at the falling white snow. On the other side, both Su Qin and Zhang Yi were struck dumb by Wu Qi's splendid poem, which seemed to them to have been just composed on the spot by him. They kept reciting the great poem stolen by Wu Qi over and over, and there was a bright gleam in their eyes. Even Li Xin had a blank expression on his face, his hand hanging in midair with a wine jug, and he totally forgot about the fine wine he was about to drink just now.

"What a surprise! That day, when I saw His Majesty Ying Zheng in Meng Mountains, his mightiness had commanded my great admiration, but I never thought he was a man full of affection. Wu Qi admires him!" said Wu Qi. He picked up a wine jug and gulped down two mouthfuls of wine, then exhaled heavily.

He turned to look at Zhang Yi, who was still indulging in the poem. "I really admire the profound relationship between His Majesty Ying Zheng and the Queen of Great Qin." said Wu Qi seriously. "But, a friendship and a business deal are two separate things. Although Wu Qi has a strong admiration for His Majesty Ying Zheng's deep love that never changed, the fact is, I've risked my life in stealing this ring amidst the interception and attack of many Great Qin's generals."

He coughed, then shoved the box back into the Black Dragon Spirit Ring. He then said with utmost seriousness, "Without a reasonable ransom, even if you get old mister Su Qin to pursue me, Wu Qi will never hand you the box! Frankly speaking, since these are the remains of Ying Zheng's queen, presumably, if I give them to Princess Zhang Le, it will be considered as a heavy gift. If His Majesty knew that I've given the remains of Ying Zheng's queen to his granddaughter, I am sure he will be very happy. Perhaps, he will even give me a raise in my title of nobility."

Zhang Yi was still indulging in the sad and sorrow poem, but Wu Qi's despicable words immediately made him shudder. He yelled furiously, "Aren't you afraid of the revenge from Great Qin?"

Wu Qi sprung to his feet, gave a loud laugh and said, "Of course I am afraid! But we are now in the capital city of Great Yan Dynasty! I will say the same thing even before the face of that old fool Ying Zheng! Yes, he can claim back the remains of his late wife, as I will never take advantage of a dead person. But how about the ransom? I want a ransom! Without that, don't you wish that you can get even a hair from me! Do you believe that after I give a loud shout here, there will be several hundred Earth Immortals flying over here to chop you into a meat paste?"

Li Xin had just stood up with fierce gleam flickering in his eyes, but when he heard Wu Qi's menacing words, he immediately sat back down sulkily.

Laughing dryly by the side, Su Qin said, "Calm down, calm down! Don't get mad. Junior brother, it will be nice if you can take back Ying Zheng's wife... no, the remains of Queen of Great Qin. Don't be so stingy! I can only keep you here for a few days, this is not a problem at all. But if this kid really yells out and attracts those people in Ji City, I'll leave here straight away… And don't ever think of having me as your scapegoat!"

Zhang Yi was ablaze with a flame of anger. He glared at Su Qin furiously and said, "You're being disloyal to your junior brother! We are fellow disciples!"

Su Qin glared back at Zhang Yi, then sullenly said, "What is the value of being loyal? If you were loyal to me, when we were studying in the Ghost Valley, you should not have eaten that extra dog leg in the back mountain! It was me who hunted that dog, and that dog leg was mine!"

Zhang Yi refuted angrily, "And you still remember such a petty thing until now? How about the three copper coins you borrowed from me? When are you going to pay me back?"

"That never happened before! And I remember that you still owe me a pair of boots!" said Su Qin with a straight face.

Both men stared angrily at each other, then together cursed out at the same time, "Utterly shameless! A polished scoundrel!"

Wu Qi jumped up and shouted, "Hey! Hey! Both of you, you can continue discussing your few thousand years old petty debts later. How about my ransom? Without anything that can satisfy me, I'll give the remains of the Queen to someone else! If you don't want me to give them to Princess Zhang Le, fine, I'll give to some girls in the brothel!"

Su Qin immediately broke into a wild laughter, while Zhang Yi was roaring angrily, "How dare you! Little kid, just you wait… Great Qin will never let you off! Y-yo-you... you're pissing me off! Here's the ransom, decide for yourself!" With a flip of his palm, a flying sword emanating with an extremely cold air shot out from Zhang Yi's hand.

"130 years ago, His Majesty brought us and found an Immortal's Cave in the Grand Central Region of Meng Mountains. From there, we found this lower-grade Spirit Item, the flying sword, 'Snow Glaze'." Zhang Yi sneered, then continued, "This is a lower-grade Spirit Item. Kid, have you ever heard of a treasure of this grade?"

"Lower-grade Spirit Item?" Wu Qi laughed, "Damn it, do you really think that I am an idiot? At the Rare Treasures Conference, that ball of treasure was an Innate Earth Element Energy, and I am going to use it in crafting a magical treasure. Do you really think that I had mistaken it for an Acquired Earth Element Essence? Pooh! A lower-grade Spirit Item! Your grandmaster Wu Qi even owns an Innate Treasure, and you are trying to exchange the remains of Ying Zheng's wife with a lower-grade Spirit Item? Fat chance!"

He spun, kicked open the door and strode out from the house.

Zhang Yi stared in shock for a moment, then quickly shouted out.

[1] A poem composed by Su Shi, translated by Burton Watson. (Source: http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_6252b0bb0100rxg0.html)